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College presidents earn top dollar

Friday - 3/15/2013, 5:55am  ET

Del Walters, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Want your kids to make big bucks following graduation? Tell them to stay in school, or at least to come back as the university president.

According to data compiled by MSN Money, it pays to be the man or woman sitting at the top of a college or university.

Some top administrators rake in as much as $4.9 million. In addition, some of the top colleges like Harvard offer breaks on housing loans and other perks, MSN Money reports.

MSN reports that when Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew left New York University in 2006, he received a bonus of almost $700,000. Students at NYU pay as much as $20,500 in tuition per semester.

The average salary of a college or university administrator soared 35 percent from 1997 to 2007. While at the same time the salary of an average professor rose just 5 percent, MSN Money reported citing The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Some schools also offer low-interest loans so that their top administrators can buy homes. Others are given lucrative severance packages should schools change their minds.

So who's paying? There is a good chance that you are.

The Wall Street Journal reports tuition costs in Virginia alone rose 43 percent from 2007 to 2012. Meanwhile, the average increase for students at public colleges nationwide went up 8.3 percent last year.

Schools counter that the top jobs offer a good return on investment. They say that other costs have to be factored in, such as research programs that eat up a college's bottom line.

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